x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Desi Girl nearly misses out on Taher Shah, the latest desi meme

I was so disturbed to find my newsfeed filled with what were references to a new meme to have caught the fancy of the desi crowd: Eye to Eye.

I normally pride myself in staying ahead of the whole desi meme curve, spotting and spreading the gems via my own social media network long before they become popular on a mass level.

Like the hilarious outtake of a Pakistani actress during an interview rehearsal with a Pakistani fashion photographer, in which she struggles not just with the pronunciation of the word "rehearsal", but also that of "fashion photographer" and then eventually excuses herself with the words: "We will the back right after bathroom break."

Then there's the young and endearing Zohair Toru, a law student and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporter who took social media by storm in early 2011 when a clip of him being interviewed at a PTI rally went viral. In the clip, he points to a fellow rally-goer claiming that this "brother" was "getting sapped by the heat" (which sounds a lot funnier in Urdu than it does translated in English).

And who can forget the Geo News reporter Chand Nawab, who shot to epic heights of social media stardom with a clip of him doing take after take for a segment from a train station platform because commuters kept stepping between him and the camera? He became so famous that people proudly wore T-shirts featuring his name.

All these memes were old news to me by the time they started overtaking Facebook and Twitter. And that's precisely why I was so disturbed when I woke up a few days ago to find my newsfeed filled with what were obviously references to some new meme. People were talking about "spectrum eyes" and "eye to eye" and I had no idea what was going on.

It didn't take more than a click or two to catch up. I couldn't believe that I had let one of the most epic desi music video clips of the year slip by largely unnoticed: a friend had shared it with me but I had chosen not to watch it. And that led to me having missed out on several days of the awesomeness that is Taher Shah and the music video of his debut single Eye to Eye.

In an extremely jarring yet fixating combination of bad English and even worse taste, the singer sways side to side as he sings about the importance of eyes when one is in love. He talks about something called "spectrum eyes", which are a sign of true love.

As I played it on repeat over the weekend trying to understand what was happening, my husband became convinced of one thing: nothing can be this bad unless it's on purpose. He's convinced that the singer has willfully made a music video this excruciating just to capture the attention of his audience - something he has achieved marvellously.

For almost a week now, people have forgotten all about Atif Aslam and Hadiqa Kiyani. It's all about Taher Shah.

Apparently, this is not the last we'll see of him. His future projects, as listed on his website, include making a "mega Urdu commercial movie".

Ujala Ali Khan lives in Dubai and loves all things desi

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